AACS Madrigal Singers European Tour 2001
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Thursday, June 21

Another view of Bern

On the bus to Interlacken

Mountain view from Interlacken

View of lake from the bus near Interlacken

The madrigals performed the Barocha to end tonight's concert

Part of the concert audience

Getting percussion tips from Stanley, Keyna Choir's percussionist

Percussion jam

AACS and Kenya choir having fun in the lobby with Sufomugo

Saying goodnight

Singing on the bus all the way back to the hotel

This morning there was a devotion service at the Casino involving all of the tour groups. The service included performances from various choirs participating in the festival including a piece from the Madrigals. The Madrigals performed what has become their signature piece, Jesus Christ the Apple Tree, which was offered with incredible beauty and which was very moving for many in the audience. The Madrigals were well received and God was truly glorified by their performance.

The morning involved an intense rehearsal while the non-singers toured a cheese factory in Emnenthal Tal. We all met back in Bern for lunch and a bus trip to Interlacken. Throughout the day, many of the Madrigals were approached by other choir members with compliments and thanks regarding their morning’s performance.

We returned from Interlacken for the evening’s mini concert which included selections done by choirs from Poland, the Ukraine, the Czech Republic, and Kenya.

The Madrigals were asked to do another piece to end the night’s concert. The Barocha was offered as the night’s blessing.

After the concert, the Madrigals had the privilege of singing with the St. Stephen’s Choir from Nairobi, Kenya. Jonathan Sardella also had the privilege of getting percussion tips from Stanley Ouma, the percussionist for the St, Stephen’s Choir. The two percussionists then provided the percussion for an impromptu performance by the St, Stephen’s choir.

The two choirs then moved to the foyer where the Madrigals joined the Kenyans in the singing of Vamuvamba (a piece from Kenya that both choirs knew). This was quite an honor for the Madrigals to be able to perform this piece with the Kenyan choir. The Kenyans then joined the Madrigals in singing There is a Fountain. Wow! This was an incredible time where our two cultures came together to lift their voices to God. The Madrigals even learned some of the Kenya dance movements that are used when the Kenyans sing.

With all the excitement, the Madrigals continued singing on the bus all the way back to the hotel.

Art Hill, our wise and wonderful devotions leader, ended the evening on the bus with a wonderful prayer of thanks.

Another incredible day!

Reflections on the Day - Loris Nebbia

Looking back on Thursday morning devotions, I suppose other choirs sang. I know they must have, but I can’t remember them. What I do remember, what I’ll never forget is the sight of the Annapolis Area Christian School Madgrial Singers as they walked on stage and formed their arc. They were nervous, walking just a bit stiffly, if you knew their happy relaxed postures. But they took their places and James sounded the pitch. This performance of “Jesus Christ, The Apple Tree” surpassed any I have ever heard.

It was not just that they sung it perfectly. Their voices were so clear and pure that they sounded like the tones of silver bells. They sang every note perfectly, but it was the energy and spirit with which they sang that gave the performance distinction. Their faces shone with love and as I watched them I knew that the purity of spirit with which they communicated came in part from the love their parents have lavished upon them. These students sang from full hearts. As we were driving to the festival, Art Hill prayed that the students would show the loveliness of our Lord Jesus. In this song, His beauty was expressed in word and song.

The response was unprecedented. The entire casino stood to their feet for the Madrigals as an intense emotional response swept through the enormous room. The thunderous applause did not surprise us. It was entirely appropriate. People were not only clapping for the beauty of the performance, they were clapping in response the anointing, the perceptible presence of God they had experienced because of the song.

All day people stopped us to compliment the Madrigals. Below are quotes:

“I couldn’t blink or breathe. It was that good.”

“That is the best version of “Apple Tree” I’ve eve heard in my life.

“I’ve been to the festival for many years and you’re one of the best choirs ever.”

“You sounded like one voice.”

“The sopranos sounded like one voice.”

“Cindy Bauchspies is a very good conductor. The choir responds to her every direction.”

“It gave me chills.”

“It was so good, it gave me goose bumps all over.”

“I think we’ve heard the best choir already today.”

“That’s a star group up there!! That is a star group.”

“Grown men were moved to tears.”

“I was so captivated.”

“I direct a girls’ choir and I love hearing young voices. Yours blend so well.”

To Cindy – “Please come and teach us how to get such a sound out of our choirs.”

“I told Mr. Raymer (festival director) that I wanted you to sing tonight an tomorrow and tomorrow night. Oh, if you sing “Apple Tree” one more time, I think I might live.”

“It was worth the trip just to hear you sing.”

“I can’t even describe it. Their tone was so pure – lovelier than anything I’ve ever heard.”

“They sing with the perfection we strive for.”

Mr. Raymer told Erin Slenk and Luke Wagoner that he had been hesitant about having a high school group at the festival since it is, and always has been an adult event, but he told them that their performance and behavior had impressed them. He said that they had positively surpassed all of his expectations.

This final comment was said enthusiastically and quite sincerely to me (Loris Nebbia)-- “Well,” said an elderly gentleman who sat at my table at the welcoming banquet. “If I had known you were attached to that absolutely superb choir, I would have talked to you more at dinner!”

As a result of the performance, God’s gracious will and all of these comments and petitions, the Madrigals were asked to sing once more at the end of Thursday night’s concert. This is an unprecedented honor. The festival coordinators told Cindy that they literally never change the program, but they wanted to make an exception for her group. The Madrigals sang the blessing and again, many were deeply touched.


After the concert, Jon Sardella asked someone from the Kenyan choir to show him how to better play his African drum. This exchange grew. Soon the two choirs were singing together, teaching each other, rejoicing together. The festival directors needed the main room, so the choirs moved to the hallway beside the reception hall. Squeezed into the hall, they sang and danced together, glorifying God. The fellowship was rich and the anointing was there. What joy we had in singing with our brothers and sisters in Christ.

We visited Interlaken in the afternoon and enjoyed the bus ride through beautiful country and a walk through the town. We saw the famous mountain peak, the Jungfrau, snow-covered in the distance. Interlaken is a resort town located on a lake.

Lots of silliness occupied the students on the bus back to town and the hotel. The contests continue and so do spontaneous singing. We’re taping as much as we can so you can enjoy it all very soon.

Today's Agenda
Morning Breakfast in hotel
8:30 am Morning inspiration and mini-concert
9:30 am Rehearsal for massed choir
12:30 pm Lunch
1:45 pm Excursion
6:00 pm Dinner in the hotel
8:00 pm International night concert
10:00 pm Afterglow Fellowship